The Quiet Earth, Miami Vice

Andrew Stephens, Monday the 12th of April, 2010

The Quiet Earth

A This post was automatically imported from my old sandfly.net.nz blog. It may look a little weird since it was not originally written for this format. thoughtful sci-fi made in New Zealand in the eighties, staring ubiquitous 80's NZ actor Bruno Lawrence and directed by ubiquitous 80's NZ film marker Geoff Murphy. A scientist wakes up to find that everybody else in the world has mysteriously disappeared (along with the animals), possibly as a result of a secret world-wide experiment that the man was a small part of. After failing to find any other people still in existence, the man goes mad for a while before pulling himself together to try to work out exactly what happened. His solitude is eventually ended when he is found, first by a young woman and then later by another man, both with no connection to the experiment or to each other. The scientists tests reveal that the effect that removed everybody else is still occurring and convinces his companions to try to stop it. Those who like their films to have a definite conclusion will be disappointed, The Quiet Earth deliberately keeps the central mystery obscure. Although strongly hinted, it is not entirely certain that the experiment is actually the cause of the effect, and the film's ending is very ambiguous and can be interpreted in different ways. The production values are very high, especially for New Zealand film of it's vintage, and there are many fine scenes of the bemused protagonist wandering around a deserted Auckland.

Recommended if you like this sort of thing.

Miami Vice

Two cops go deep undercover to penetrate an international drug ring. This movie basically recreates the plot and tone of the 80's TV series, a show I never really liked. The movie looks pretty good, with the trademark slick editing and wall-to-wall incidental music of the original, but the plot ranks pretty low in the plausibility stakes and very high in predictability. The dialog is terrible, in some scenes the characters' conversations just peter out as the actors take to staring into the middle distance trying to look cool with varying degrees of success. The actors are well cast and look the part but I am pretty sure Sonny's hideous hair style contravenes any number of UN human rights conventions.

Not really recommended